When anime became popular in the West, it was initially a closed community. It wasn’t really broadcast on mainstream channels (save for children’s shows, which were available even on Cartoon Network and the likes), and the fanbase was both small and quite introverted, really. But, with the rise of the genre’s popularity, anime slowly entered the mainstream and is today a global brand with millions of fans around the world.
This has motivated Western movie companies to focus more on anime and HBO Max is a great example of how Western streaming services do that. HBO Max is one of the largest players in the field and they have a solid anime library. Now, this article is going to focus on what HBO Max has to offer at the moment, as we are going to bring you a list of the 30 best anime series and films that you can watch on HBO Max in 2021.
Best Anime on HBO Max
The list we have prepared for you is going to be quite diverse and will include both movies and anime series. There are going to be some old titles, some new ones, with the main criteria being the overall quality and cultural impact of the movie or series.
30. Porco Rosso
Original Release: July 18, 1992
Running Time: 94 minutes
Abandoning the aeronautics and social life (including love for Gina, a childhood friend who became the owner of a hotel set up on a small island in the Adriatic and frequented by smugglers enchanted by her singing skills and her beauty), a former pilot retires to the Dalmatian coast after transforming into a pig, earning a living with the bounties placed on the pirates of the air fighting with his Savoia S.21 monoplane seaplane (or S.21 “Folgore”, after having mounted the engine of the same name), painted red, hence the nickname “Porco Rosso”.
29. Food Wars!
Number of Episodes: 86 + 5 OVA
Sôma Yukihira dreams of becoming a chef in the family restaurant and thus surpassing his father’s culinary talents. While Sôma has just graduated from college, her father Jôichirô Yukihira closes the restaurant to go cook around the world. Sôma’s competitive spirit will then be put to the test by his father who advises him to join an elite culinary school, where only 10% of the students are graduates.
28. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
Number of Episodes: 12
When the God of Evil awakens again, the Goddess of Fate, patron goddess of the kingdom of Piena, chooses six heroes, whom she marks with a seal of six flowers. The mission of these heroes is to defeat the god of evil who is in Makoku territory, the realm of Calamities.
Much of the story of Rokka no Yūsha takes place in the temple just outside the border of the Calamity Realm. The heroes arrived at the temple where a barrier was created to block the path to the realm of the evil god and secure the heroes’ rear once they passed to the other side.
27. Tower of God
Number of Episodes: 13
Tower of God introduces a particular universe, composed of a gigantic tower of which 135 floors are known, each approximately the size of the American continent. This edifice is climbed by countless people passing a test on each floor because legend has it that everything one could want is at its top.
However, not everyone can climb. Only Regulars, people who have been “chosen” by the Tower can, as well as very rare Irregulars, who have opened the door to the Tower on their own.
Number of Episodes: 12
As he struggles to overcome his breakup with his girlfriend, Kurō Sakuragawa is approached by Kotoko Iwanaga, a young girl who announces to him that she has been in love with him since she met him two years ago.
She also tells him that she is somewhat of a “goddess of wisdom” serving as an intermediary between the real world and the supernatural world after being abducted by youkai when she was just a little girl.
She must now solve the problems of the spirits. Kurō is initially wary of Kotoko but after a fight against a youkai in a library during which Kurō reveals his true identity as a human with the powers of immortality and precognition, he finally agrees to help Kotoko in his various adventures as a goddess. wisdom to maintain peace between the two worlds.
25. Blue Exorcist
Number of Episodes: 37 (+ OVA)
The world of Blue Exorcist is made up of two dimensions that oppose each other like two sides of mirrors. The first is the world in which human beings live, Assiah. The other is the world of demons, Gehenna. Normally travel and even any form of contact between the two is impossible.
However, demons can pass into this world possessing all that exists within it. Satan is the god of demons, but there is one thing he does not have: a receptacle in the human world powerful enough to contain it.
Original Release: July 19, 2008
Running Time: 101 minutes
Fujimoto, a wizard who abandoned the human world to live on the ocean floor, experiments with “water of life,” a liquid that strengthens marine life; He thus hopes one day to upset the ecological balance and see the sea, mistreated by men, regain its preeminence.
The eldest of her daughters, Brunehilde, a five-year-old goldfish with a human face, takes advantage of her father’s moment of inattention to slip through a window of the submarine and reach the surface, under the parasol protector of a jellyfish.
Number of Episodes: 193
Japan, Sengoku era. Inuyasha, a half-demon (han’yō), steals the Sphere of the Four Spirits from a village, an object that can greatly increase the powers of an individual (demons or men with an evil spirit). Inuyasha does not go too far: Kikyo, the young priestess of the village, pierces him with a sacred arrow which, through Inuyasha’s body, sticks to Goshinboku, a sacred tree in the nearby forest.
By the power of the sacred arrow, Inuyasha remains frozen in a magical sleep suspended in time. Mortally wounded, perhaps by Inuyasha himself, Kikyo recommends that his younger sister Kaede burn the sphere together with her body, so that she cannot fall into the wrong hands.
Number of Episodes: 25 / 24
Status: Ended / Ended
Stimulated by the hatred he carries in his heart, Dark Warrior Guts continues his seemingly endless quest for revenge. On his way, outlaws, evil spirits and a devout child of god. Even if he risks his life, Guts continues to fight his enemies with the force of his body and his sword. What will he find at the end of his journey? The answer is hidden in the darkness.
Number of Episodes: 12
The series is set in 1983 during the German Democratic Republic, it follows the squad 666 “Schwarzesmarken” of the National People’s Army whose specialty is the “laserjagd” (From the German literally: Laser hunting) and focuses on the characters of Irisdina Bernhard, Theodor Eberbach and Katia Waldheim.
Various conspiracies in the East German government related to the STASI and the USSR take place throughout history. The Senjutsukis that appear in this work are primarily MiG-21s and MiG-21PFs, in addition to those used by STASI: MiG-27 Aligator. These TSFs are primarily those used by the Warsaw Pact signatories during the first generation of TSFs.
20. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!
Number of Episodes: 20 + 2 OVA
After an untimely and rather embarrassing death, Kazuma Satō, a Japanese hikikomori teenager with a passion for video games, meets a water goddess named Aqua, who offers him to reincarnate in another world with JDRMM rules, where he can thus go on an adventure and fight against monsters.
Although offered to choose a divine object or overpowered ability to take with him to this new world, Kazuma, as a result of the goddess’s derogatory attitude and a provocation, unwillingly chooses her for the accompany in the city for beginners of Axel, where he quickly finds that the lack of savvy, as well as the futility of Aqua, are of little benefit to him.
19. Rurouni Kenshin
Number of Episodes: 95
The story takes place in 1878 in Tokyo. Kenshin Himura, a former assassin nicknamed Battosaï, literally “master in the drawing of the sword”, during the time of the Tokugawa reign, hides a very heavy past. Become a wanderer since the establishment of the Meiji era, he travels the country equipped with his sword with an inverted blade, with the desire not to kill again.
He meets a young girl who seeks to protect his dōjō, Kaoru Kamiya, and ends up moving into her home after helping her. Little by little, they will meet their future companions: Yahiko Myôjin, a boy from the samurai class who becomes Kaoru’s disciple, and Sanosuke Sagara a follower in street brawls.
18. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Original Release: July 29, 1989
Running Time: 103 minutes
According to the tradition of the witches, when they turn thirteen they must leave their parents’ house and look for a city where their services are required, and stay there for a year. In this way, Kiki will begin the path that will lead her to become a witch for good.
She makes this trip with her friend Jiji, a very nice black cat, and rides her flying broom. Her initial journey will take her to settle in a maritime city where she will begin to know the world and to know herself. During her trip, she will meet great friends, such as Tombo or Osono.
17. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Number of Episodes: 12
Midori Asakusa is a young girl whose dream is to create an anime, but she doesn’t dare to go for it on her own. She is friends with Sayaka Kanamori, a girl in her class who has no interest in making an anime but wants to make some money. One day, the duo meets a famous young model, Tsubame Mizusaki, who dreams of becoming a host. Together, the trio founded the Eizouken club in order to make their dream come true.
16. Your Lie in April
Number of Episodes: 22
Arima Kōsei is a renowned young pianist. A little prodigy from an early age, commonly known as a “human metronome”, he excels in all the competitions in which he participates by giving a performance that accurately reproduces a score.
However, his mother, who is both a pianist and his teacher, suddenly dies from a serious illness whose causes are unknown and Kōsei misses a competition that could have led him to play the piano internationally. He, therefore, abandons the piano and all his past.
Two years later, Kōsei enters his last year of middle school and meets Kaōri Miyazono, a violinist of the same age as him and who is in the same class as his neighbor and loving sister, Tsubaki, with whom he will immediately fall in love.
15. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Number of Episodes: 12
During the industrial revolution, a mysterious pandemic struck the world and soon spread to the far reaches of the East, even in the sovereign island of Hinomoto. People themselves infected or bitten by other infected humans are transformed into Kabane, formidable blood-hungry undead whose extermination is extremely difficult.
Indeed, the heart of the Kabane is covered with a special steel film which renders most conventional weapons (bladed weapons and steam rifles) bushi ineffective.
14. Bungō Stray Dogs
Number of Episodes: 36 + OVA
The story centers around certain individuals with supernatural powers who use them for different purposes like running a business, solving mysteries, and carrying out armed detectives agency missions against the port mafia. It revolves particularly around the members of the “agency of armed detectives” and their everyday life.
13. Re:Zero – Starting Life In Another World
Number of Episodes: 50
One day, leaving a convenience store, a Japanese high school student in a tracksuit named Subaru Natsuki is transported to a parallel world without any explanation. While trying to make his mark in this new world, Subaru is attacked by a band of bandits.
On the verge of death, he is saved by a silver-haired half-elf named “Satela,” accompanied by a cat-like spirit, Pack. To reciprocate, he decides to help her with her daily chores, including finding the badge stolen from her by Felt, a young girl living on theft.
12. Kill la Kill
Number of Episodes: 24 + OVA
We meet a 17-year-old girl, Ryuko Matoi, who arrives in a Japanese city. She walks around with a strange briefcase on her back that contains half of a pair of scissors. Arriving through the slums, it is the target of a few pickpockets. After correcting them, she learns about the city, which is apparently under the yoke of a dictatorship.
It is within the Honnōji Academy that we find the president of the student council, and leader of the totalitarian movement, Satsuki Kiryūin. Matoi decides to enroll in the academy and challenge the president to tell him more about her father’s death and to find her killer, the holder of the second half of the pair of scissors, called, when the halves are joined together, the snipitisnips.
11. Howl’s Moving Castle
Original Release: September 5, 2004
Running Time: 119 minutes
An eighteen-year-old girl, Sophie, who works in her late father’s store, accidentally meets a mysterious wizard named Hauru, during a chase. The latter then takes her in sympathy.
However, the witch of the Landes, who is in love with Hauru, becomes jealous of the attention paid to Sophie by the latter. To get revenge, she decides to transform the young girl into a ninety-year-old lady. Unable to reveal this transformation to her family, she locks herself in her home, then runs away.
10. The Promised Neverland
Number of Episodes: 23
Emma and her siblings, all orphans, were placed in a special institution when they were very young. Although their freedom is limited and the rules are sometimes a bit strict, the children lead happy lives at Grace Field House, and the woman they call “Mum” (real name Isabella) takes care of them and gives them all the love a mother could give her children.
But one evening, after the departure of one of theirs, Emma and Norman discover that the children of this orphanage are delivered to demons, with the consent of “Mom”. To survive, they will have to show ingenuity and try to escape.
9. 91 Days
Number of Episodes: 12 + 1 OVA
The story takes place in the United States, in the midst of prohibition. The mafia is then a powerful organization with which it is better not to rub shoulders. Yet Avilio decides to confront this gigantic organization with the one and only goal of avenging his murdered family. His target? The group his father used to work for.
8. Death Note
Number of Episodes: 37
Light Yagami is a gifted high school student who judges today’s world to be criminal, rotten, and corrupt. His life changes dramatically the day he accidentally picks up a mysterious notebook called “Death Note”. Its instructions for use say that “the person whose name is written in this notebook dies.”
At first skeptical, Light decides to test the notebook and discovers that his power is very real. He meets the former owner of the Death Note, a god of death named Ryûk. He explains to him that he has voluntarily dropped his notebook in order to be entertained. Thus begins their murderous game.
Number of Episodes: 12
We are in 2006. Satoru Fujinuma is a manga artist who cannot get his career off the ground. To make ends meet, he works as a pizza delivery man. Reserved, Satoru does not open up to the world around him. Still, he has the ability to go back a few minutes before an accident happens.
One day, following a sudden event, Satoru is brought back 18 years ago, when he was still in elementary school, thus giving him the possibility of arresting a criminal who had kidnapped and murdered three of his comrades.
6. Jujutsu Kaisen
Number of Episodes: 24
The plot of Jujutsu Kaisen takes place in a world where plagues are created from the negative emotions of Humans. Thus, to protect places with a high concentration of these emotions such as schools or hospitals, these infrastructures have a relic, receptacle of a plague, because we can only fight against plagues with a more powerful plague.
These are invisible to human eyes except for a handful of people, for example, exorcists. The exorcist’s job is to eliminate the plagues and thus protect the people from them, but this is not without risks, because these plagues can be more or less powerful.
5. Princess Mononoke
Original Run: July 12, 1997
Running Time: 133 minutes
The story takes place in medieval Japan (Muromachi era). Ashitaka, the prince of the tribe of the Emishis, a reclusive people north of Honshū, is cursed after killing Naggo, a boar god turned demon: his arm is animated with a supernatural force, but is eaten away by the demonic entity.
The shaman of the village says he is doomed to die and advises him to leave the village in order to seek in the west the cause of nature’s anger and the hope of finding the reason for his curse.
4. Grave of the Fireflies
Number of Episodes: April 16, 1988
Running Time: 89 minutes
The story is told in the summer of 1945, in World War II Japan. Seita is a fourteen-year-old teenager. His younger sister Setsuko has four. Their father is a senior Imperial Japanese Navy officer enlisted in the naval forces for several years, so they live with their mother in the city of Kobe.
However, the American armed forces carried out at the time a heavy bombardment with the incendiary bomb of this port city. The mother could not escape in time from the gigantic fire that will occur in the city. She was very badly burned and then died of her injuries.
3. My Neighbor Totoro
Original Release: April 16, 1988
Running Time: 86 minutes
The story is set in the Tokyo hinterland of the 1950s. Little sisters Satsuki and Mei are moving with their father to Tokorozawa, a small country village. The move is to move closer to their mom who is hospitalized.
Mei, exploring her new home and following traces of acorns, encounters two creatures with long ears, one very small with white fur and one larger and blue: following them into the large camphor tree that dominates the area, she meets Totoro, a good spirit with a somewhat picturesque appearance: a cross between a mole, a bear and a raccoon.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Number of Episodes: 64
In the land of Amestris, a land where alchemy is elevated to the rank of universal science, two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, roam the country in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.
Helped by Edward’s status as a state alchemist, the two brothers will seek, at the risk of their lives, the stone that will give them back what they have lost, but the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone is well kept.
1. Spirited Away
Original Release: July 20, 2001
Running Time: 125 minutes
Chihiro and her parents are forced to move to another city. During the move, his father decides to take a shortcut to save time, however, they get lost and arrive at a building with a strange tunnel in the center. Even though Chihiro refuses to enter, his parents insist on following the tunnel.
On the other side, they discover an apparently abandoned village; the family chooses to explore the place and end up finding a restaurant where they decide to stop and eat. Chihiro leaves them to continue investigating. As night falls a mysterious young man named Haku appears and orders Chihiro to leave the place before it completely gets dark.